There’s something to be said for determination.
This story of a husband an wife sailing team who were stymied in their first attempt at circumnavigating the globe by a run in with Somali pirates (resulting in their imprisonment for 388 days), only to fix their boat up upon their release and give their around-the-world trip a second attempt is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
So what’s the reward for such people? Is it a deeper sense of satisfaction? Is it better headlines?
Or is it simply that they succeeded? Having finished.
But in a world where drama rules, and the excessive is lauded, is merely succeeding worth all the effort?
I remember having a great deal of “success” in high school. I did well academically, I was respected by my teachers and by my class-mates, and I was afforded a bright future. But to me, I don’t recall doing anything out-of-the-ordinary. For all intents and purposes, I was astonishingly normal. I just did what I needed to do.
And sometimes, that’s all that needs to be done to stand out.
In a world that’s increasingly sadistic, negative and pessimistic, sometimes all that’s needed to be “successful” is simply to finish. Certainly it could be argued that there are degrees of finishing (ie, finishing well, finishing poorly, etc), but semantics aside, there is a great deal of pride to be found in completing a task or achieving a goal at all, no matter what condition we arrive in. For it’s in crossing the finish line that we find so much separation between those who finish, and those who don’t (or never even attempted at all).
More and more I find the pleasure of God on my life simply for attempting things. He’s my Father, and I don’t attempt thing to try and gain his favor, I attempt things because he made me able to do so. It’s my great adventure to be like him. And scripture backs it up. It’s faith that pleases God. It’s that “I don’t see the other side, but I’m going to jump and give this a go because I trust you” kind of faith.
Often times I think one of the only reasons the secular world owns so much, and the Christians own seemingly less, is because the world just works harder than Christians do. In fact, I also believe the secular world understands the Biblical principles of reaping and sowing better than some Christians do. They invest vast amounts of time and money only to net vast rewards; they also give away vast amounts of their treasure, only to see their treasure multiplied. Meanwhile, some God-fearing “Bible believing” Christians wonder whether or not tithing and giving offerings to their local storehouse (a superior form of parting with funds than whatever the secular world knows, but does not preempt business investing) is good for them or not.
We Christians also tend to suffer from the rip chord mentality (RCM). As soon as something gets hard, doesn’t go our way, or downright fails, we pull the rip chord and get out. I’ve never seen God change his mind so many times about things he apparently said to a Christians as he does when the Christian encounters an obstacle. I don’t mind a Christian saying they made a mistake, or hedged their bet in the wrong basket, but when we cite “God said” terminology to it, we enter into a dangerous realm. May we tread carefully when it comes to tarnishing his reputation; the world is watching, looking for truth.
Determination? Means a dang-lot.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. -Sir Winston Churchill
Very often I’m asked how I do so much. Sure, I believe God gave me a sizable creative capacity. We all have a capacity. But there’s a much, much simpler answer.
I always try and finish what I start. Because finishing is its own reward.
So get back to writing that book, parenting those kids, splashing color on that painting, drafting that homework assignment, formatting that spreadsheet, or being faithful to your final 3 months at a post. It means more than you’ll ever know. Until you get there.